Drifting snow cancelled our Ash Wednesday celebrations, so by myself I read the scriptures and prayers. I miss the congregation. Starting this morning in Japan and Korea and moving across Asia and the Middle East and across Europe and Africa and the Americas Christians have anointed their heads with ashes. Using the language of this lifeless matter we admit to God that we are sinful and weak and long to leave the past in dust and ashes. God looks upon our helpless human race and, in gracious mercy and unending love, gathers us as one.